The 5 best books for babies…

I love reading to Bea and whilst our evening routine doesn’t always involve a story at the moment we do read to her every day, if not several times. We have done this since she was tiny, when it was really more for us than for her, so this is a little list of the best books we found for the first 12 months and I’d love to hear if you have any to add for that specific period.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine.”

My mum bought this for Bea when she was born, it is such a cute story and I loved reading it to her, in much the same way people enjoy ‘Guess how much I love you’.


One of my favourite books from childhood, I loved reading this to Bea for nostalgic reasons but it’s also one she can interact with by turning the (board) pages and I imagine will grow with her. We even ended up walking around when she’s tired or sad sing songing away, ‘Here’s a little baby one, two, three, carried in her mummy’s arms, what does she see…’ – and now it’s one of the staple gifts I buy for new babies.

That’s Not My Puppy

This was given to us by a friend with 2 kids who clearly knew what she was doing when she bought it! It became the first book that Bea really enjoyed and interacted with due to the touchy feely  panels on every page and with it’s sturdy board pages was also the book she learned to turn pages with herself. We now have Thats’s not my … Monkey, Owl, Kitten and Robot – just for a bit of non-stereotypical reading material 😉

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries…I’d know you anyway.

Totally schmaltzy in a way only a parent will appreciate 😉 this was the first book that I personally ever bought for Bea. We bought it in the US on holiday and as such it is by an American Author, and refers to some unusual animals like the ‘blue footed booby.’ The illustrations are beautiful and it’s just a story I really love reading to her. It also has side notes encouraging children to make the actions for certain animals that we leave out now but will be great later on. I always think of this one as ‘our’ book and it’s another great one for a gift as it’s not that common over here.

The Snail and the Whale

This is the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey blue hump backed whale…

Overtaking The Gruffalo in our affections comes this Julia Donaldson book about a snail who hitches a ride sightseeing around the world on a whales tail. It has wonderful alliteration and is quite a tongue twister to read but I love books that sing song and rhyme as you read them so I enjoy it and it never fails to settle eea down as a result too. This is a good one for the parent to enjoy reading as much as the child – no matter the age and its long enough to wind down with before bed.

This is just a selection of our personal favourites and is by no means exhaustive. Which books are your favourites for under ones? 

Love, Rebecca


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14 thoughts on “The 5 best books for babies…

  1. My nephew was obsessed with Room on the Broom. He loved me reading it to him and would always giggle when I talked like the witch (or the dragon). To be fair though all the Julia Donaldson ones are brilliant, he is now four so a bit old for them but his little sister (who is two) still loves them. I love Janet and Allan Ahlberg, all their books remind me of my childhood.

  2. Good list Rebecca – I love the Snail and the Whale and Peepo and will definitely keep an eye out for 10 Little Fingers.

    Iris and my favourites this first year have been:
    Goodnight Moon – very much the story book of my childhood and I love that she now finds it totally calming at bed time.
    Owl Babies – someone gave us this when I went back to work and it has become a firm favourite of us both, all about a mummy owl who goes out to find food for her baby owls.
    The Ox Cart Man – quite niche, this, unless you happen to be interested in pioneer subsistence farming in North America but again it was one of my childhood faves and funnily enough our Romanian nanny loves it because it reminds her of her grandparents so Iris now chooses it often!

  3. Thank you for this lovely list of books!
    I have a very dear friend expecting a baby girl after 4 long, hard years, battling with infertility and IVF.
    I’ve been trying to think of a gift to give to let her and hubby know how utterly delighted I am for them, and these books seem utterly perfect! I’ve added them to an Amazon wish-list. Thank you!

  4. I’ll have to check these out, I’m always on the lookout for his baby books, thanks! There’s a few classics that we’re big fans of:
    Each Peach Pear Plum, another Janet and Allan Ahlberg book that may be a bit beyond my 10 month old Arthur but it’s fun to read.
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Arthur loves turning the pages and poking his fingers through the holes.
    Goodnight Moon – Arthur always flips past the black and white pages (it alternates between colours and black and white) bit it’s got a lovely rhythm and is the perfect length to soothe him before bed.
    We also love Animal Hide and Seek, it’s got touchy feely bits and flaps and the cover alone can keep Arthur happy for a good half hour!

  5. My little girl in now 3 and some of her favourites were and still are,

    Dear Zoo, Room on a Broom, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, We’re going on a Bear Hunt and any Peppa Pig book.

  6. We love Night Monkey, Day Monkey – another one by Julia Donaldson. It has that lovely rhythm which makes all her books so readable and is a really cute story too.

  7. We love The Tiger Who Came to Tea (a classic from my childhood, I was named after the little girl in it!); Meet the Parents; I Need a Wee (and the other Sue Hendra books, they are absolutely hilarious); Ticklemonster and the “That’s not my” series. None of which are calming before bed time but bed time is never calm in our house! I envy those of you who have babies/children who are actually keen on going to bed! 🙂

  8. Another vote for Each Peach Pear Plum here, I’ve managed to inherit the copy from my childhood so ours is pretty battered. Billy is still too young to show much interest but I love reading it.

    Other books that I’ve picked up for him are Dear Zoo which is a fun lift the flaps book and lots of Julia Donaldson, also I Want My Hat Back

    I brought an absolutely gorgeous book the other day, the illustrations and binding are so beautiful, perhaps more for me than for him, it’s called The Fox and The Star and I couldn’t resist it.

    I’ll be adding all the recommendations above to my list, as far as I’m concerned it’s impossible to have too many books.

  9. Very different suggestions here.

    We have “That’s Not my Lion” but I don’t really like it. I don’t think it lasts her as long as other board books – she’s now mainly concerned with picking bits of the fluff off the Lions mane and handing it to us. We also got “That’s not my fairy” and “That’s not my Princess” as Christmas presents which, wrong.

    One of my favourite gifts we received when LMJ was born was from my cousin’s children who gave us copies of their favourite books. We love Dear Zoo, and also George, the Friendliest Giant in Town, which Lucy and Rory sent us. But our two favourites are:
    1. Clip Clop by Nicola Smee – its a board book again and we do lots of Clip-Clopping.

    2. Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek – its a board book again, slightly longer so it “lasts us” rather than having to read two or three shorter ones. But it covers opposites, colours and loads of other stuff whilst still being good for under ones.

    Mummy’s favourite is Me by Emma Dodd. We got this at Christmas with a penguin soft toy from the White Company (books really do make the best presents). The pages in the non board book are beautiful – metallic – which she loves. And the bit where it talks about “The world is big and I am small” has me in bits every single time.

    Generally, all flap books have been a hit here from about 7-8 months.

  10. A few of our favourites are Night Monkey, Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson, Andy Warhol’s So Many Stars and Dr Seuss One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish and Green Eggs and Ham 🙂
    My little girl will be 2 in January and she loves these books. She also loves lift the flap books and Pip + Posy books.

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